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No. 7 Buckeyes sprint to 90-72 win over Asheville

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No. 7 Buckeyes sprint to 90-72 win over Asheville

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Grammy-winning singer and pianist Bruce Hornsby sent a tweet to Ohio State coach Thad Matta on Friday night.

In it, he asked for the seventh-ranked Buckeyes to take it easy on his son, UNC Asheville guard Keith Hornsby, when the teams met on Saturday.

The Buckeyes obliged - Hornsby lit up the Buckeyes for a career-best 26 points - but Ohio State still had the last laugh.

``That's just the way it is,'' Matta cracked, parroting the title of the older Hornsby's biggest hit.

Sam Thompson scored a career-high 18 points and Ohio State (8-1) relished the chance to get out and run in coasting to a 90-72 victory over the Bulldogs (3-7).

Deshaun Thomas had 17 points, Lenzelle Smith Jr. 16 and Evan Ravenel tied a career best with 12 points in the first half for the Buckeyes (8-1), who tuned up for a big showdown next Saturday against No. 9 Kansas in the fourth game in an eight-game homestand.

After playing a series of teams content to slow it down against a lean and fast team, the Buckeyes were like horses let out of a corral.

``We watched film a lot on them the past couple of days and we noticed that they didn't stop the ball particularly well,'' said Thompson, who electrified the crowd with a breakaway, windmill dunk after the game was long decided. ``We knew that if we could get stops, we knew we could push the ball up the floor and could get to the rim and create for ourselves and other people. We definitely tried to capitalize on that.''

They outscored the Bulldogs (3-7) 26-2 in fastbreak points and continually got behind them for easy baskets and rim-rattling dunks.

``The part I was most disappointed in from our standpoint is we didn't get back on defense all night long and we let them penetrate,'' Asheville coach Eddie Beidenbach said. ``We didn't get down and play defense like we can. I know Ohio State's really good, but they shouldn't have been able to do that.''

The Buckeyes scored on 14 of 19 possessions during one span in the first half and took a 50-35 lead at the break.

They would have been up even more if not for Hornsby, who had 18 points in the opening half while hitting all but one of his eight shots from the field - including 4 of 5 3-pointers.

Everyone at Ohio State was impressed with the shooting display he put on.

``Honestly, he's a good player,'' said Smith, who was victimized for several long-range buckets despite playing solid defense. ``He came in here rolling. You've got a guy like that with a hot hand, you don't contain him early in the game it's always going to be tougher.''

The Buckeyes had three in double figures as they hurried the ball down the floor and frequently scored in transition.

Hornsby had five early points as the Bulldogs trailed 11-7 in the opening few minutes. Then Thomas hit a 3, Smith slashed through the heart of the defense for a layup and Thompson dunked off a fast break pass from Shannon Scott to make it 18-8.

The lead remained near double figures until Ravenel muscled in a shot inside and then hit a 12-foot jumper to make it 40-27.

With the game still played at a fast pace, the Buckeyes pulled away in the early stages of the second half.

Thompson scored seven points as Ohio State ripped off 15 of the first 18 points in the opening minutes to widen the advantage to 65-38. The Bulldogs never pulled close again.

The loudest cheer of the day came with 6:44 left when Thompson took a long pass behind the defense and threw down a windmill dunk that brought the Ohio State bench to its feet.

``I just wanted to do something to get some energy in the gym, pick our guys up and pick the crowd up,'' said the high-flying wing, who some have called ``Slam'' Thompson.

Thanks to all of those layups, the Buckeyes shot 59 percent from the field (36 of 61).

Hornsby, with his father watching from behind the Asheville bench, hit 9 of 12 shots from the field including 6 of 8 3-pointers, made both of his free throws and added five rebounds and an assist. Will Weeks added 14 points and Jeremy Atkinson 11.

``I was able to get some shots to go down and had a lot of help from my teammates to help me get open,'' Hornsby said.

Hornsby's previous career high was 23 earlier this season against another top team, North Carolina State. The Bulldogs hung around in that big intrastate showdown before falling 82-80 on Nov. 23.

``Obviously we didn't do a good enough job of getting our guys to guard him because he's much more athletic than most people think,'' Matta said. ``As a sophomore to come in and do what he did, that was quite a performance.''

Despite Hornsby's big day, the Buckeyes were pleased with how things turned out. They know they'll have to run to score in a difficult Big Ten that includes several athletic teams.

``I really like this style and I think it fits well for this team,'' Smith said. ``We got a lot of open looks just by running and playing naturally. We have a lot of athletes on this team. Just getting out and going allows us to be at the top of our game.''

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

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Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

With their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Capitals' playoff future is starting to come into focus. Washington has only one game remaining and can finish in either third or fourth in the round robin standings. That limits the number of possible playoff opponents for the Caps when the games really start to matter.

First, before talking about who the Caps may play, it is important to remember why. Under the NHL's regular format, a normal year would see teams advance in a bracket, meaning each team knows going in they will be playing the winner of a specific matchup if they advance. This year, the NHL is going back to its old format of re-seeding after each round. This makes determining matchups a bit harder to figure out.

Here's what we know. The Caps are going to finish in the bottom half of the round robin meaning they will play one of the highest two seeded teams coming out of the qualifying round. The Carolina Hurricanes swept their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers. As the No. 6 seed coming in, Carolina is going to be one of the top two qualifying round teams.

RELATED: DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWNS AND MORE FROM CAPS LOSS TO FLYERS

Washington's final seed will be determined by Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins. A win in regulation, overtime or a shootout will mean the Caps are No. 3, while a loss in any fashion will bump them down to No. 4.

The simplest scenario for Washington is that If the Pittsburgh Penguins rally to win their series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps are guaranteed to play either Pittsburgh or Carolina as the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively. It gets a little trickier if the Penguins lose. If that happens, the Hurricanes become the top qualifying team and will play No. 4. The top team behind them then becomes No. 6 which, as of now, could be the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So a rematch with the Hurricanes is a definite possibility for the Caps, as is a matchup with the rival Penguins.

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Report: Derrius Guice's attorney denies client's domestic abuse allegations

Report: Derrius Guice's attorney denies client's domestic abuse allegations

Derrius Guice's representation has released a statement that says the Washington Football Team running back "adamantly denies" the charges that he was arrested for on Friday

Guice turned himself into the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office facing one count of strangulation, three counts of assault and battery, and one count destruction of property.

The following statement from Peter Greenspun was obtained by Ben Standig of The Athletic. 

"Mr. Guice will not be commenting on these charges, which he adamantly denies. We ask that the media respect Mr. Guice's privacy," the statement read. 

"Unfortunately, the investigators did not seek a statement or any input for Derrius before the warrants were issued. The failure to fully investigate allegations of events, which allegedly took place months ago is inexplicable."

Greenspun, who has a historic career and most notably was a defense attorney in the 'D.C. Sniper trial,' called the charges of his client "unsubstantiated." He also called out the football franchise for releasing Guice prematurely without inquiring about the investigation. 

"... a full vetting of the allegations will take place, in contrast to actions by local law enforcement and the Washington Football Team that assumed the worst, directly contradicting every sense of fairness and due process," the statement concluded.

The Washington Football Team released Guice less than an hour after his arrest became public. The move came through as a part of the culture Ron Rivera has vowed to instill during his first few months as head coach. This is also not the first time Guice has faced issues for off-the-field behavior. He fell to the team back in the 2018 draft due to issues he had while with LSU.

In his short tenure, Rivera has dealt with a tumultuous series of issues arising from the franchise including current and former players facing other serious allegations, a monumental name change, and serious allegations of the culture within the team's executives.

Despite injuries mounting in two years for the 23-year-old back, it was expected that Guice would become the leading rusher in the backfield this season. Still, he had yet to prove to be a consistent contributor with only 42 carries for 245 yards and two touchdowns entering his third season.

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